Source: Athens News Agency
Greece and Turkey are seeking to boost trade ties by establishing regular cooperation, Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday.
After a meeting with Turkey's visiting minister of state for external trade, Kursat Tuzmen, Alogoskoufis told reporters that ways would be found of increasing the volume of trade.
"I reiterated to Mr Tuzmen Greece's standing policy of supporting Turkey's European outlook coupled with adherence to EU specifications. Turkey's incorporation into the EU will have a beneficial impact for both countries and for the wider region," he added.
Welcoming Greece's position over Ankara's EU entry bid, Tuzman said the two countries shared a complementary role.
He also noted that the private sector was ahead with ministries in both countries lagging slightly, welcoming National Bank of Greece's acquisition this week of Finansbank, which he said demonstrated the level of confidence between Greece and Turkey.
Only 10 Turkish companies are operating in Greece against 228 Greek firms with a presence in the neighbouring country.
"Our aim is to increase the number of firms doing business in both countries...Over the last three years, the volume of bilateral trade has doubled," Tuzmen said.
The trade balance between the two countries remains in favour of Turkey.
In 2005, the trade deficit was 245.5 million US dollars. In 2004, Turkey was the seventh largest recipient of Greek exports, accounting for 4.52% of total sales abroad.
Turkey ranked 15th among countries that exported to Greece, with a 2.32% stake.
On the basis of Turkish data, Greece is 13th among recipients of Turkish goods at 1.9%, ranking 34th on the basis of exports towards Turkey at 0.6%.
According to 2004 data, Greek exports to Turkey in recent years have been dominated by fuel (29.9%), cotton (23.7%) and plastics (14.3%).
In the same year, Turkey exported a wide range of manufactured industrial goods to Greece including iron (14.4%), vehicles (10.3%), machinery (7.1%), electrical sound equipment (6.5%), and iron products (5.5%).